By Wole Adedoyin
THE President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Mr. Camillus Ukah, celebrated his 60th birthday by unveiling his latest book, titled The Other Side of the Cemetery. The momentous occasion showcased Ukah’s literary prowess and his dedication to addressing pressing social issues in contemporary Africa.
Renowned author, Dr. Abba Abba, winner of the NLNG 2019, commended Ukah for his ability to merge artistic vision with vivid imagination, which are beautifully entwined to shed light on burning social challenges modern-day Africa faces. The book delves into the perplexing question of why a people born into affluence continue to endure the excruciating pangs of hunger, poverty, and disease. Ukah’s exploration of Africa as a metaphorical cemetery of shattered hopes and unrealized potential emphasizes the urgent need to invest in education for communal prosperity.
Ukah’s storytelling ability is nothing short of remarkable. He weaves narratives that serve as multifaceted weapons, capable of piercing deep into the core of society. By reformulating seemingly ordinary socio-ontological entities into subjects of grandeur and epic significance, he captivates readers with his unique artistic vision.
Author of Memories Gate and ANA Secretary, Maik Ortserga, describes The Other Side of the Cemetery, as a sprawling novel that unfolds in multiple parts. With an omniscient narrator at the helm, the book captures the harrowing experiences of both the husband and wife. The husband’s ordeal at the hands of his terrorist abductors is presented in a gripping forward narrative, while the wife’s desperate search for her missing husband is depicted in a compelling backward narrative. Through their intertwined stories, the novel masterfully exposes the deep-rooted social degeneration plaguing the country at every step, leaving readers astonished and contemplative.
The Other Side of the Cemetery is a powerful literary work that showcases Ukah’s ability to confront societal issues head-on while captivating readers with his masterful storytelling. His book serves as a wake-up call, urging individuals and communities to come together and address the challenges Africa faces, particularly the persistent cycles of poverty, hunger, and disease.
Ukah continues to make significant contributions to the Nigerian literary landscape through his exemplary leadership that has helped him to nurture and empower numerous aspiring authors, enriching the literary fabric of the nation. The Other Side of the Cemetery stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment to literature and his desire to make positive impact on society.